Fuming Cherry


Read a bunch of stuff in the archives about this, so decided to give it a try. If you're interested, some pics at:
http://web2.airmail.net/xleanone/index.html/Cherry%20Fuming.htm
Lessons learned:
- Make sure your airtight container is DRY! Even if it is, suspend the object above the container bottom (like put it up on a block of twoby) in case you get some condensation.
- Get all pieces of the object in one container so they all get the same amount of action.
I used 2 containers, one for the box top and one for the bottom. The box bottom is back in the fumer again 'cause it doesn't match the top, it was much lighter. Same amount of ammonia in the two containers, same size container for each. But, the bottom is twice as big (area wise) and as the reaction progressed, more ammonia was used up, lowering the concentration and reducing the fuming's effect compared to the box top's reaction. Or so I suspect. It didn't help that the container for the bottom didn't seal up as tight either, further reducing the available NH3. Before you ask, top and bottom came from the same piece of wood, in fact the box was built in one piece and sawed apart after glue-up (and that's another story!).
The method does artificially age cherry wood, it is controllably slow, and it doesn't seem to pop the grain like lye. Yeh, I tried lye and even at low concentrations (1/8 tsp in 1 cup of water) it works too damn fast. Getting a consistent result on an object of any size would be a real trick no matter how fast you are with the vinegar wash.
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if you want a method with more visual feedback than closing it up in a bucket but slower than lye you might try a solution of baking soda in water.....
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